A new program designed by community members provides the villages with access to critical goods that would be otherwise inaccessible. The Kenema Items program transports goods such as building supplies, rice, and tools from distant Kenema for resale in the villages. Foindu villager Zainab Sheriff explains how the program has benefited her family.
My name is Zainab Sheriff. I am 40 years old, and I was born in Foindu village in the Kailahun District of Sierra Leone.
Before now, the people of Foindu had to travel a very long distance to purchase certain important items, such as zinc, cement, rubber storage drums, and more. The transportation required to purchase these items involved heavy transport fares for the individual travelling both to and from a larger city. Transport fees were also levied on the items purchased for delivery to their final destinations via motorbike or truck.
In order to reduce the costs of purchasing these items, a proposal for a project called ‘Kenema Items’ was jointly written for approval by people from Foindu, Jokibu and Pujehun. It was called Kenema Items because most of these items that the community members and I needed were sold in Kenema, which is hours away by motorbike.
In February 2012, OVP approved our project and brought these greatly needed items to the villages for sale. Zinc, roofing nails, and cement allow us to strengthen and repair our houses, while bags of rice and drinking buckets for clean well water help us stay healthy and strong.
One of the other benefits to us is that there has been a reduction in the theft of our money, especially on market days (every Friday). We can now buy these items in the villages without people stealing our money. My husband was once robbed by thieves in the city of Kenema. They took all of his money, which he was going to use to buy items for our family.
We are very grateful to OVP for providing us access to these items in the villages. We hope that this project will be sustainable, as we community members are very excited about it. Long live OVP, and long live Kenema Items project!